The tragic death of Paul Walker could now come at another price – the largest insurance claim in Hollywood history. THR reports that there is growing tension between Universal Pictures and its insurer Fireman’s Fund over the size of the claim – one said to be in the ballpark of $50 million.
The project is in the midst of a visual effects-packed 13-week shoot culminating with an enormous crowd scene in Rosamond, California. Before Walker’s death in November, “Fast and Furious 7” was originally budgeted at $200 million. Universal is said to be covering what it would have cost to complete the project had the accident not occurred, and now the dispute lies over the extra costs that have been incurred – costs which are said to have pushed the film’s total budget closer to $250 million.
Despite the budgetary jump, a source tells the trade they are “finishing the film more or less as scripted, replacing Paul with [computer-generated] face replacement. They have two of Paul’s brothers as well as an actor to ‘play’ Paul when needed.” The “final version” will be an amalgamation of 25-year-old Cody Walker’s eyes, 36-year-old Caleb Walker’s body and mannerisms, and the stand-in actor’s performance which will deliberately mimic Walker’s style.
Peter Jackson’s Weta is being employed for this effects work using three cameras, along with the main-unit cameras, to capture Walker’s stand-ins for face replacement. “There is a massive amount of gear. Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a clusterf— of money being spent” says the source.
It’s not just that though, the more than four months of delay of the production has led to more costs such as paying the cast to stick around, along with extra script work by writer Chris Morgan. Director James Wan has also come up with new scenes from unused footage Walker had shot for the previous two “Fast and Furious” films.
It’s expected that the insurer and Universal’s broker will negotiate the size of the claim in coming months. The current largest settlement on a franchise film was the $10-15 million paid out on “Iron Man 3” after star Robert Downey Jr. broke his ankle.
“Fast and Furious 7” is currently set for release April 10th 2015.